Dales farmer becomes chair of National Parks England

Neil Heseltine in front of Malham Cove.

A Dales farmer and chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has been elected chair of National Parks England, the body which provides a collective voice for National Park’s across the country.

Neil Heseltine’s appointment comes as national parks face significant pressure as a consequence of the real terms reduction in the Defra core grant, with cuts to staff and services across a number of national parks already a reality.

Neil, who works his family’s farm in Malhamdale, is an advocate for sustainable farming practices.

He recently appeared on David Attenborough’s acclaimed Saving Our Wild Isles documentary expressing his view that a successful farm business can work with nature not against it, and that farming within natural processes is important for the health and welfare of livestock, the environment, and biodiversity.

Neil said: “I am proud to chair National Parks England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority at a time when there is so much to do to improve outcomes for climate and nature. This is one of the biggest challenges we face in our lives right now.

“As national parks, we should strive to be role models for nature and climate, so as people spend time in these landscapes they leave inspired to do whatever they can to support climate and nature recovery.

“So I’m looking forward to working with colleagues, partners and others as we continue to deliver the vitally important climate, nature, and public access and engagement projects in national parks across the country, and as we press Government hard to provide National Parks with the resources we so desperately need to achieve the ambitions we have for our treasured landscapes.

Neil will continue in his current role as chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.


  1. Maybe he can get something done about raptor persecution?but there again probably not as the YDNP is the worst area in the country for this crime.

  2. Congratulations Neil. I can’t think of a better advocate. They will be lucky to have you in this role

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